Executive Director’s Message

Aloha and Welcome.

I am thrilled to be a part of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.  For 50 years, the Commission has worked toward equality for Hawaii’s women and girls.  We strive to advance the status of women and girls in all areas of life through positive and progressive social change by means of educational efforts, legislative policy, or dissemination of important information for our community.

Over the years we successfully encouraged more citizens registered to vote, we educated the public about Title IX-The Patsy T. Mink Educational Opportunity Act, and we tracked over 30 pieces of legislation that would effect the lives of women and girls in Hawaii.  In addition, we uplifted the achievements of our sisters and friends, women who consistently work for gender equality.

We know statistically and anecdotally, that women remain underrepresented in politics, in STEM fields, in the boardroom and in corporate positions of power.  In Hawaii, 47% of full-time, minimum wage workers are women, many of whom are single heads of households.  In reality, this means that in order for a single mother to approach the self-sufficiency standard, she would have to work three full-time, minimum wage jobs.

Further, when we look at women’s safety, 1 out of 4 women experiences interpersonal violence.  All too often, we know friends, sisters, cousins and colleagues who are victims of gender based violence.  When I meet with women and girls throughout the state, I hear about resilient efforts to improve lives and livelihoods, create safer communities and build economic self-sufficiency.  Their stories can serve as our collective call to action.  We must do better for our women and girls.  Please join us in this effort.  Email us at dhs.hscsw@hawaii.gov or call 586-5757 or Fax 586-5756.

Cathy Betts, Executive Director